Instructions

  1. To make the bread: Combine the rum and raisins in a small, nonreactive bowl and set aside to soak for about 30 minutes.

  2. Place the remaining ingredients into the bucket of your bread machine in the order listed, select the dough cycle, and press Start.

  3. When the machine beeps for additions, add the raisins and any remaining rum. Check the consistency of the dough, adjusting it with a tablespoon more water or flour if necessary to make a smooth ball of dough. Let the machine complete its cycle.

  4. To shape and bake: Gently deflate the risen dough, divide it into thirds, and fold each piece over on itself so the cut edge is inside the ball of dough. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough to a 12" rope. Place two of the pieces on a piece of parchment crossing each other. Lay the third piece over the top. Braid the bread from the center to the ends on both sides. (Braiding this way keeps the dough more uniform instead of having one long, stretched-out end.) Pinch the ends together and tuck them underneath.

  6. Cover with greased plastic and let the braid rise for 30 to 45 minutes, until almost doubled. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the top of the bread with egg wash, if desired. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a deep golden brown and the center reads 190°F when measured with a digital thermometer. Remove from the oven and cool completely before glazing.

  7. To make the glaze: Combine the confectioners' sugar with enough milk to make a spreadable glaze; stir in the butter-rum flavor. Drizzle or brush the glaze on top of the braid.

Tips from our Bakers

  • To mix by hand or mixer: Mix and combine all the ingredients except the rum/raisins until you have a soft dough. Knead for 2 minutes, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes. Knead in the soaked raisins and any liquid. Flour your hands as needed, and knead for 4 more minutes, or until the dough is springy. Cover and let rise for 60 minutes, then proceed as directed for shaping and baking.